Victor & Joanne's Italy and Bulgaria Family Adventure 2017 travel blog

Michael, Giorgio and James. Old buddies who met for the first time...

Giorgio, his mother Maria and his children.

All of the family

Antonio and Mariella. He coordinated transportation and was extremely help making sure...

Antonino's dauther Giulia and Noelle are fast friends.

Lina, Victor's cousin and a dear, sweet woman. So very happy to...

Lina and Gianni. We arrived at the restaurant a bit early so...

Rosanna and Alessandro

Just a small gathering of the family :-)

The pizza was amazing and just kept arriving. Delicious.

Day Two and Toto's children join us: Mimmo, Lia and Maria Giovanna

Stefania and her parents (Elena & Estaban) who are both very proud...

Salvo and family who picked us up on our last visit and...

Concetta and daughter Angela. Concetta is a lively, fun-loving woman who loves...

Victor and Concetta entertaining the group.

Gabriel is very good at card tricks and dazzled our grandkids with...

Tiziana, Andrea and kids ...

Cousins!! Gabriel, Christian, Braeden, Liam, Noelle and Chiara

Tutta La Famiglia from the last afternoon of visiting ... What a...


Palermo - La Famiglia

Victor was a little apprehensive about meeting up with all of his family in Palermo. Two sides of his family live in the area and it has always presented a challenge to visit with them all without offending anyone. Fortunately this time, Joanne booked an apartment that had plenty of room to host a number of relatives at one time. We set aside Saturday for Victor's mother's family and Sunday for other side of the family.

Messages went out to the respective sides of the family with instructions on how to find us. We had suggested a short visit between 1 o'clock and 3 o'clock to introduce our family to everyone. On Saturday, the first group from Victor's mother's side of the family arrived just before one o'clock and we had a lovely visit with lots of animated conversations, singing and picture taking.

Other members of this same side of the family phoned to say they could not make it for 1 o'clock and pleaded with us to meet in the evening instead. They had arranged to come and pick us up after four because they wanted to take us all out to a restaurant that was famous for lemon pizzas. We relented and at 4 o'clock the doorbell rang and we were met with three vehicles and three drivers to transport all nine of us on a 25 minute drive to a town called Parrini. There, we met up with the remaining portions of the family and, after much introductions kissing and hugging, we were accompanied into the restaurant. There was at least 25 members of the family sitting in one long table. One can only imagine the din of noise from all members of the family, talking at once, and the children all trying to use their translators to communicate with one another. Again, many photo ops with various members of the family and much laughter and joy while indulging in this good food. By 10, when we were finishing our meal, the majority of patrons were just arriving. In Italy meals begin at 9 in the evening. Once we were outside, another round of hugs and kisses to say our goodbyes began as we piled into the three vehicles for our drive back to Palermo.

The next day we had expected a smaller group from Victor's father's side of the family, but the word spread and by 1 our living room was full of 24 excited family members. One member informed us that "it was only 10% of the entire family and we would have had to rent the Teatro Massimo to accommodate everyone." I can believe it.

Anticipating that there would not be enough sweets, one group of ladies went out and quickly returned with more pastries to supplement those we had prepared. Again, we felt like celebrities as each family group would pull us together for a photo. One cousin regaled with a story about how Victor's father had been instrumental in "straightening out" his father when he was heading for trouble as a youth. Victor's father taught him a trade to improve his life. There are always those tidbits of personal history that sheds light on our family's life and values during those early years before we emigrated.

Our grandchildren circled around Gabriel (a second cousin) who demonstrated some a brilliant card tricks and others circled around Victor to sing Italian songs. Family is very important to Italians and while our lives have changed with a new culture, customs and language, theirs has remained virtually the same, thus they seem to appreciate our making the effort to reconnect. We're sure that those efforts will pay dividends to our children and grandchildren in years to come.



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